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M83 x L.A. Philharmonic:
Saturdays = Underwhelming

French outfit M83’s Saturdays=Youth was easily one of the best albums of 2008, if not the best outright. The sweeping synths, layers of distortion, and dramatic vocals combine for an epic sound reminiscent of 80s Shoegaze a la Cocteau Twins. Basically, Saturdays=Youth is a full album of songs fit for final scenes of John Hughes films. When I heard that M83 was collaborating with the L.A. Phil for a show at the Disney Concert Hall, there was no decision to be made about whether or not to go. It was a no-brainer...

Having seen amazing L.A. Phil collaborations with modern artists before (including Air in ’04 [!!!]) and considering how well M83 songs lend themselves to orchestral accompaniment (strings ftw), my expectations were through the roof.

Not unlike post-rock contemporaries Sigur Ros and Explosions in the Sky, the best part about M83’s music is the slow build-up to an exhilarating crescendo. It feels wrong to criticize what most would probably agree was beautiful music (and it was beautiful), but the show was a disappointment. Don’t get me wrong… there were certainly some high points, but they were fleeting. Maybe they underutilized the virtuosity of the L.A. Phil. Maybe they didn’t play enough of the latest album (srsly, they didn’t even play "Kim & Jessie". WTF, right?). Or maybe I just expected too much. Whatever it was, something was missing that night.

That said, the L.A. Phil has def stepped their game up as of late with their shiny, new musical director, 28-year-old wunderkind Gustavo Dudamel. Also, to admire the design of the Disney Concert Hall was worth the price of admission alone. It’s as breathtaking on the inside as it is on the outside. Plus the acoustics in there are out of this world. If you live in L.A., DON’T SLEEP.

Anyway, here’s a Bloc Party remix that they played, 2 tracks off Saturdays=Youth that they SHOULD have played, and my favorite Cocteau Twins song for good measure.

Bloc Party – The Pioneers (M83 Remix)
M83 – We Own The Sky
M83 – Highway of Endless Dreams
Cocteau Twins – Lorelei

(edit: late pass on this. had a busy past couple weeks so kept forgetting to post this up. my bad.)